Too much drama for DStv customer

City businessman, Arthur Wienburg, plans to charge Multichoice (DStv) with fraud after they changed his annual subscription to a debit order, even though he always pays a year in advance.

Although he did get a refund, there are unexplained debits and credits and no one is able to explain to Mr Wienburg what they’re for. And he has asked numerous times in correspondence he copied to me, apart from his dealings with the call centre agent, Abigail Madonsela, who doesn’t appear to live up to her namesake’s credentials.

When I asked MultiChoice to explain, all I received was a one-liner: “We’ve contacted Mr Wienburg regarding his complaints. All issues he raised have been resolved and we’ve extended our humblest apologies to him for any inconvenience caused.”

Mr Wienburg pays his annual subscription even though he has not been getting a renewal reminder and the agency couldn’t tell him why. When he paid his bill in full on March 1, on March 2 (2015) he received an SMS: “Your debit order for your DStv account didn’t go off on the 1st as expected; we apologise for this error. We’ve fixed the issue and it’ll go off that evening”.

Mr Wienburg replied: “I do not have a debit order with you and you may not debit any account of mine. If you do I will lay criminal charges against you. You are a bunch of incompetents”.

“On March 2 (2016), MultiChoice debited my bank account through a debit order without my authority for R8 592.30. I didn’t know which bank account they had debited or how they gained access to the account information. But I recall when I requested a refund last year, they asked for my banking details to effect the refund. When they entered the details into their system, they switched the account to debit order. Which is fraud.

“I tried phoning Multichoice which is a nightmare and no one is ever willing to address the problem. Eventually a very helpful woman at the agency I deal with took the matter up and on May 10 (2016), R7 230 was refunded into my bank account.”

Mr Wienburg asked MultiChoice to give him a detailed, legible account showing all debits and credits made against his account from March 1 2015; acknowledge that his bank account details have been removed from the system; and that they will not debit his account again; and to email his annual subscription renewal notice to him.

“Tellingly, you do not advertise an email address for complaints such as this one. You want the money and do not give a damn about subscribers. When in 2015 you messed up as usual, I asked that you refund the money to the same credit card I used to pay the subscription. You said it can only be paid into my bank account which is nonsense. I suspect you just wanted ‘access to my bank account for nefarious reasons which have come to pass’,” Mr Wienburg told Multichoice.

Mr Wienburg couldn’t get a straight answer from Multichoice about his subscription at his Rondebosch residence or his holiday home in Plettenberg Bay.

Call centre agent Abigail Madonsela said the method of payment “has reverted back to cash from debit order”.

“We are sorry for any frustration experienced with regards to the method of payment having remained debit order as a result of the first refund that was done.

“We’ve attached bank statements dating back to February 2015 for your reference and a letter from our billing and collections team reflecting the amount payable on your next payment date, 01 March 2017. Certain entries that reflect in your statements would be as a result of perhaps a reconnection of your holiday card,” Ms Madonsela said.

Replied Mr Wienburg: “How can you not know for certain what debits and credits are for? Perhaps is not good enough. Please send me a document which explains the reasons for each debit and credit and tell me why so many exist.”

This information should be readily available to all clients “but it is not”.

The statement they sent him “is illegible”. “That is why you need to redo it manually,” he told them.

“For example: The amount which you took from my bank account was R8 750 which differs from the amount which was paid at your agency of R8 569. Why the difference? The amount refunded was R7 230 .03 which does not tally with the amount debited. There was a further charge of R9 108 on 6 May, 2016. What was this for and why was no explanation given in your summary? On May 6, 2016, a debit of R1 338.97 was made for ‘holiday account, why? And so it goes on.”

No answers were forthcoming, not even when Mr Wienburg asked for the managing director’s details so he could send his complaint directly to him.

“Given the contents of the recent correspondence, why did you write to Mr Joss and say that the matter had been concluded to my satisfaction which is a blatant untruth? Please answer this question.” The silence was deathly.

There are plans to establish an action group to take on Multichoice over its “strange” accounting methods, its “unhelpful call centre” and endless repeats.

You can email with your full name, home address and phone number if you would like to be the convenor.